New or up to date L.A. lodges for the 2020 holidays

Is traveling now normal? Stay at home. Well, not exactly at home. Stay close to your home so you don’t have to grapple with airports, unknown cities, and – hopefully – the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s known as a staycation and is what you do when you are fed up with your house and the meals that come out of your fridge. Fortunately, there is a simple solution. This year, Southern California has seen an abundance of sleek new hotels. You can escape reality for a night or two on these delightful digs. They are also great places to hide relatives when they visit on vacation.

“People are really tired of staying home,” said Nusrat Mirza, general manager of the glamorous JW Marriott Anaheim Resort, which opened on August 19. “You’re looking for a safe place.”

This place could be one of the new hotels in the area. You could be one of the first guests to stay in a room. I also found hand disinfection stations, masked employees and many cleaning protocols in all of the new hotels. And because the occupancy rate is low, social distancing is a given.

Another sweet perk: the room rates are currently low, so you can score a lot.

Here you will find a selection of the new hotels.

Nice bling in Anaheim

The JW Marriott Anaheim Resort opened in August and features dazzling lobbies and a rooftop bar.

(JW Marriott Anaheim Resort)

The JW Marriott Anaheim Resort, a luxurious luxury hotel overlooking Disneyland, has 444 rooms, making it one of the largest hotels in the city. Usually the marble floors and the high ceiling lobby were full of happy guests. Today it’s – well – pretty empty.

The happiest place on earth is closed, as are other nearby attractions and the Anaheim Convention Center. But that’s a plus for visitors during a pandemic. You don’t have to worry about the crowds in the elevator or by the pool. As a bonus, Mirza named a hotel cleaning champion and “got creative with customer service skills by teaching our staff how to smile with their eyes”.

The 11-story hotel is attractive with twinkling glass chandeliers, 650 iridescent titanium butterflies, a jazzy rooftop bar, and a garden terrace that grows rosemary, basil, and strawberries.

Info: 1775 S. Clementine St., Anaheim; (714) 294-7800. From $ 199 a night.

History and charm in San Juan Capistrano

Al fresco dining in an olive grove at the new San Juan Capistrano Inn at the Mission Hotel

The stylish new Inn at the Mission Hotel with an olive grove is located in San Juan Capistrano.

(Marriott International)

This southern Orange County town, with its adobe buildings, red-tile roofs, and historic mission, has a lot to offer. There’s now a quaint new hotel, the Inn at the Mission, in the heart of downtown. The sprawling three-story hotel, which opened on September 1st, is located next to Mission San Juan Capistrano, known as the “Gem of California Missions”. In keeping with the city’s historical past, the inn reflects the atmosphere of colonial California, complete with Spanish revival architecture and an olive grove.

It’s easy to warm up to this charmer who’s already luring locals to his Ysidora restaurant, named after a 19th-century Capistrano matriarch. There is a terrace overlooking the ruins of the Mission’s Great Stone Church and a dining area on the terrace which serves classic Spanish specialties. (I loved the smoked tomato and pepper gazpacho.)

The hotel has 125 hacienda-style guest rooms and three residential-style villas on 4 acres. A 2,500 square meter spa is slated to open next year.

Info: 31692 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano; (949) 503-5700. From $ 329 per night.

Catch a wave at Hermosa Beach

A room in the H20 Hermosa Hotel.

It’s one block from the beach from the laid-back H20 Hermosa.

(H20 Nice)

Do you want a relaxed retreat with a beach vibe? Opened in October, H2O Hermosa may be your ideal coastal getaway. The boutique hotel is just one block from the sand near the popular Hermosa Beach Pier, Beach and Pier Plaza.

The city is known for its robust nightlife and diverse dining options, all of which are close to H2O.

In this three-story building, beach colors are paramount. It’s a simple place with no pool, restaurants, or landscaped areas. But maybe you can get a glimpse of the Pacific from a balcony room. A roof terrace and large skylights create an airy ambience.

Info: 1429 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach; (888) 411-7780, from $ 199 per night.

Flying high in West Los Angeles

A bartender mixes a drink in the Caravan Club, the bar on the roof of the June Hotel.

Located near LAX, Hotel June offers tapas and tequilas in its rooftop bar, the Caravan Club.

(Rosemary McClure)

Hotel June is an airport hotel of a special kind. It’s away from the LAX flight path, which means you won’t see many planes overhead, and it’s a good place to have a glass – and literally the roof.

The fun and play part of the hotel is the Caravan Club, a raised deck where you can sip tequila – there are dozen of small batches to choose from – and eat oysters, grilled seafood, or other Baja-inspired cuisine. Although the hotel didn’t open until June, the Caravan Club overlooking the pool already has a following.

The multi-storey hotel has 250 rooms in a modern, mid-century building. The rooms are white with a minimalist look that is clean and welcoming. One downside: there is no airport transfer, so you’ll have to book your own. The journey takes about 10 minutes.

Info: 8639 Lincoln Blvd., Los Angeles; (888) 435-5070. From $ 140 per night.

Panoramic cityscape in Los Angeles

The roof at the Wayfarer in downtown LA

The roof at the Wayfarer in downtown LA

(Wonho Frank Lee)

The city center has come a long way in recent years. Now there is another hotel in the converted city center with a rooftop lounge that offers guests breathtaking views of the financial district.

The appropriately named roof on the 12th floor of Wayfarer is one of several colorful, ornate playgrounds at this 156-room hotel, which opened in February.

The wayfarer is fun as soon as you step in the front door and find a lively common room called the Gaslighter Social Club. Sit in a plush chair and read a book – there is an art installation of 600 – or order food and drink. The high-ceilinged lobby is eye-catching, with vibrant murals and eclectic decor. The rooms are similarly flashy and extravagant.

Other pluses: The hotel is dog-friendly, has rooms for four people with bunk beds, and is within walking distance of the LA Live and Staples Center.

Info: 813 S. Flower St., Los Angeles; (213) 285-4400. From $ 120 per night.

British takeover in Beverly Hills

The Terrace Restaurant in Maybourne Beverly Hills

The Terrace Restaurant at Maybourne Beverly Hills serves California-inspired cuisine and cocktails.

(Danielle Hamilton / Maybourne Beverly Hills)

In front of Maybourne Beverly Hills – previously Mondays – not much had changed when I visited them the other day. There were two Lamborghinis, a Ferrari, a Porsche Carrera and a Bentley in the valet service. I was glad I parked my Subaru on the street.

I quickly saw that things hadn’t evolved much inside either. The new owner, Maybourne Hotel Group, arrived this fall and didn’t have time to make many improvements. The Beverly Hills Hotel is the first international hotel for the British group, which operates the London-based Berkeley, Connaught and Claridge hotels.

Will the Maybourne take on a British tone? No, I was told. The look will end up being California modern, with a nod to Scandinavian and California vintage furniture and design elements.

The lobby has been repainted and the Terrace, an alfresco restaurant overlooking Beverly Cañon Gardens, has opened. It offers seasonal California-inspired cuisine and cocktails. The lunch and dinner menus include salads, pasta, seafood and meat. A weekend brunch includes a free mimosa tasting.

Info: 225 N. Cañon Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 860-7800. From $ 545 per night.

A new life for an old favorite

The Grade II listed Century Plaza Hotel closed more than four years ago, making way for a $ 2.5 billion renovation project. There was hope that the renovated hotel would open in the spring, but then the pandemic struck.

“I’ve always said I love a challenge,” said Philip Barnes, general manager of the hotel, which has now been renamed Fairmont Century Plaza and is slated to reopen in early 2021. “When the virus appeared, everything came to a standstill.”

More than a dozen new hotels opened in Southern California this year, but others, like Century Plaza, missed opening dates.

Opening a hotel can be harrowing even in the best of times. That year, developers also had to grapple with a virus that was setting the accommodation sector on a death spiral. With few people traveling, the industry has seen a staggering number of cancellations. More than half of American hotel rooms were empty in October, a decrease of more than 30% from a year earlier, according to marketing and statistics firm Statista.

To ease the bleeding, many established hotels closed in the spring; Not all are open again.

Some new hotels were late. In Orange County, the Westin Anaheim Resort, slated to open in October, is working on an opening in March. And Pendry West Hollywood, also slated to open this fall, is now aiming for a debut in January.

The most anticipated local opening is the Century Plaza project, which focuses on the crescent-shaped landmark that has housed presidents and rock stars for more than five decades.

The 19-story hotel facade was built in 1966 and is considered a mid-century masterpiece. It’s protected, but everything else is radically changing, including the number of rooms, which will drop from 726 to 400.

“In the past it was considered a very large conference hotel,” said Barnes, who most recently served as managing director of the Savoy Hotel in London. “It will reopen as a much smaller luxury hotel with half as many rooms. The lobby is stunning with floor to ceiling windows. The rooms are fabulous. “

The project includes 63 hotel residences and two 44-story high-rises for condominiums as well as thousands of square meters of retail, restaurant and lifestyle space.

The hotel has been closed for four years, but the reinvention took a lot longer, Barnes said. “It took maybe seven years to redefine the location and details of the residential area. And the shell had to stay because it is a protected building. “

Completing the project in the age of COVID-19 was difficult. “The world is a very different place now than it was when we imagined the opening,” said Barnes.

His hope: “To reinvent Century Plaza with a spirit of warmth and welcome. I want people to feel like a home away from home. “

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